New Delhi, February 10: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday requested Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to remove the education fee cap under 7th Pay Commission for children of soldiers who lost their lives while serving the country.
Earlier in January, the government made it clear that there will be no immediate review of its decision to put a cap of Rs 10,000 per month on educational assistance given to children of martyrs or of those disabled in action.
Replying to a question in the Rajya Sabha, Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre said the educational assistance has been capped as per the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission and those demanding its review have been communicated about the government’s position on it.
Indian Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba wrote to Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman requesting the government to look into it’s prior order that limits education reimbursement to the children.
“Reply has been sent (to them) stating that the combined amount of tuition fee and hostel charges has been capped at Rs 10,000 per month in accordance with the recommendations of the 7th Central Pay Commission as accepted by the government,” Bhamre said.
Under the scheme, rolled out in 1972, tuition fee of children of martyrs or those disabled in action were completely waived in schools, colleges and other professional educational institutions.
However, on July 1, the government had issued an order capping the amount to Rs 10,000 per month, triggering discontentment among all the three services.
The Chiefs of Staff Committee (CoSC), comprising the Army, Navy and the Air Force chiefs, had written to the defence ministry requesting the issue to remove the cap.
Approximately 250 students have been reported to be affected during current financial year following the government’s decision to cap the assistance, Bhamre said, adding that “the allowance shall go up by 25 percent each time DA rises by 50 per cent.”
He said that out of a total 2,679 students during the year 2017-18 (up to December 27, 2017), 193 students have been reported to be drawing more than the capped amount.
“The savings have been reported to be Rs 3.20 crore approximately. The highest amount drawn has been reported to be Rs 18.95 lakh per annum per student,” said Bhamre.